I simply direct you to track 2, “Habitland.” A sparse beat punctuated by blasts and a riff mostly made up of screaming feedback. It digs its fingers into you for barely 2 minutes, and then it’s gone. Mosh. Mosh so damn hard.
Key track: “Habitland”
3) Mastodon, Once More ‘Round The Sun
The Hunter was a bit of a misstep when it comes to sheer memorable songs in Mastodon’s catalog, but this more than makes up for it. It’s catchy, it’s got the all-important Mastodon-ness that I felt the last record was lacking when it came to their usually more out of the box approach – it’s just a strong record overall.
Key track: “Tread Lightly”
This is a Russian one-man band that I discovered by total chance through a friend’s Bandcamp. Ratocracy picks up where one of my all-time favorites Strapping Young Lad left off – it’s an utter wall of sound, but with some brilliant riffing; technical without sacrificing any visceral punch, and his ear for melody is pretty striking. Album opener “ETFM” is absolutely unhinged, and the ethereal closing minutes of lengthy closer “Divine” give me chills. I might have listened to this record more than anything else this year, and that’s pretty insane.
Key track: “ETFM”